Random Musings & Reviews

Book Review: Kim Ji Young, Born 1982

Out of curiosity, I ended up reading this book, Kim Ji Young, Born 1982 written by Cho Nam-joo. I really love this book that’s why I am making a book review.

Kim Ji Young, Born 1982 is one of the talks of the town and bestseller fiction novels of Cho Nam-joo in 2016 during the time of the Me Too Movement in South Korea.  Cho Nam-joo was a former screenwriter for television programs. The original book was written in Korean and published in October 2016 and the English translation was out this year 2020 and the movie has been released last year.

Kim Ji Young, Born 1982


An extremely powerful story of Kim Ji Young was born on April 1, 1982, in a small clinic in Seoul. The second child of the family who became a wife and mother after giving up her career and independence. A female student who has experienced bullying and harassment from other male students. She’s been reprimanded by her father for wearing a short skirt, why she’s talking to strangers and why her cram school is so far away. A daughter who sneaked from her younger brother’s formula and a sister who always thinks that she’s being generous to her brother for not feeling jealous of the things that her brother always gets from their grandmother and father.

A stay at home mom who didn’t even complain for her repetitive tasks every day. Even though Ji Young’s daughter Ji won is attending daycare for about 3 hours still, she’s busy doing the laundry, cleaning up the house, and making foods and snacks for her daughter and husband.

A woman who once became a victim of gender discrimination. A daughter in law who was expected to be filial to his husband’s family. Despite doing all her responsibilities without complaining she suffered from depression which made her husband worry about her.

Her depression leads her to be a different person sometimes. Like her friend who died while giving birth and her grandmother. There was also a time she sounded like her mom like what happened during the Chuseok or Thanksgiving where Ji Young, her husband, and their daughter went to Busan to visit his family. During holidays, Ji Young used to help her mother in law from preparing foods for Chuseok. I wrote an article about the things you need to know about Chuseok, a Korean holiday.

Her husband went to a psychiatrist to discuss her condition which she seems to be unaware of and later on she was convinced to have a therapy session.

Tackles About

  • Women Empowerment
  • An eye-opener to everyone that women have an important role in the society
  • Not just about feminism but equality
  • Stop victim-blaming
  • Also about Mental Health Awareness
  • About speaking and opening up what we really feel

Quick Thoughts

Honestly, I myself can relate to this story not just because I am a woman but because we are both the same married into a Korean man. Like her, I do all of the household chores at home and taking care of our son. My husband never lifts his finger when it comes to cooking, washing dishes, cleaning, laundry or even just throw the garbages. The only thing he does is work and pay all the bills. I understand that he has a tough job as they always point to me that I should take care of him and let him rest during his off.

But how about me? I can’t even have a 5 minutes break at all. Whenever I go to the bathroom, the door is open while my son is sitting in front of the door.  I used to carry my son at my back using a baby carrier so I can do the chores that I need to do. It was really hard, tiring, and hurtful to me which leads me to cry alone at night. But don’t get me wrong, I love my family but it’s still different when you get your own time,  to go for a walk, read a book or even have a cup of hot coffee.

It’s also hard to rant about it since not all family and friends understand your situation. I tried posting about what I feel hoping that someone might console me and say “You can do it, fighting!”. But I got a reply from someone “It’s your choice, you married him, so don’t complain”.  From that day I never told anybody what I really feel because I was afraid someone might blame me for my decisions except for my closest friends.

Also, I don’t speak Korean well when I came here so I felt like I was reborn in a world where I am clueless about everything. During holidays, I also help my mother in law in preparing food. It’s very tiring, exhausting, and stressful at first but this time I’m enjoying it a little.

Some also called us ‘mum-roach‘, a name for new mothers who give up their jobs to raise children and sometimes viewed as having an easy life living off with our husbands. But the truth, it’s not easy to be a stay at home mom. You’ll never get that me-time unless the kids are in bed and sleeping.  I wish my husband can read the Korean version so he can understand what I really feel.


5 stars! I love its realistic story and simplicity. I bet you’ll love this book the way I fell in love with it. It’s worth reading because it’s very informative and gripping novel that became the voice of every woman in the world.

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I'm Marvi (aka Abby), a Filipina, married to a Korean and currently living in Seoul. In this blog where will I pen and share my thoughts, experiences, my life, my travels about Korea and so much more. Don't miss my post! ♡


  • Carl Lubang Batnag

    Interesting review. I believe this book got quite some interesting backlash because of its feminist contents. Even the movie was met with the same pessimism. Too bad because it seems like they could get some interesting insights in the book (and the movie)

    • myonniyou

      It’s my first time to make a book review so I don’t know if I did it right. Thank you for the feedback. Yes that true. It’s been the talk of the town since it’s been released during the time of the MeToo Movement here in Korea.

  • Kezia

    I actually watched the movie last month and even though I still in college so I’m not married yet, I can heavily relate to the issues pointed out throughout the movie. There is just too many expectations that are given to women when they’re married. But I’m glad that it’s gaining exposure. Last year I watched VIP and one of the characters is a married women with children who still has career ambitions and I think the drama portrays her situation and dilemma well. I’m wondering how much differences the movie has with the book and I’m thinking of reading the English version if I can get my hands on the copy. Thanks for the review!

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